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Teens arrested in Covington Walmart fire that could close store for a month

Investigators said they have arrested a 17-year-old and 15-year-old from Covington for aggravated arson.

COVINGTON, La. — The Covington Walmart Supercenter on Highway 190 will be closed until further notice after firefighters responded to a fire in the auto department Sunday night and two suspects were arrested 

The fire started around 8:15 p.m. at the location in the 800 block of North Highway 190 in Covington. The State Fire Marshal said that there were about 200 people in the store when the fire broke out, but no injuries were reported. 

According to Ollie Brumfield, the chief prevention officer for St. Tammany Fire District 12, surveillance video shows two people purchasing what is believed to be the ignition source for the fire and additional video shows the two in the area where the fire started just before flames broke out.

The two suspects, 17 and 15, both from Covington, were booked on one count each of Aggravated Arson, Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Arson, and Manufacture and Possession of a Delayed Action Incendiary Device.

"Thanks to the overwhelming and quick response from the community, State Fire Marshal deputies in partnership with St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office deputies learned the teens’ names and whereabouts and were able to take them into custody this evening," the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office said in a press release.

According to the State Fire Marshal's Office, following an assessment, including the video, deputies determined the fire was intentionally set. 

The store’s entire inventory suffered smoke damage, according to Brumfield, though the water damage was limited to the auto section. “The water sprinklers did their job,” he said.

Brumfield said the store could be closed for 30 days. A Walmart employee who answered the store's phone Monday morning said that the store would be closed "until further notice."

The store is an extremely busy outlet for food and housewares for several subdivisions on the northshore.

The State Fire Marshal’s office is leading the investigation.

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